Church Membership

September 5, 2008

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

In Acts 2:44-47, we see a picture of corporate spiritual vitality in the Church.  Over and over again it is described how the church was together: together in the temple courts, together in one another’s homes, and together with glad and sincere hearts.  From the start, there has been a strong emphasis of togetherness in our life in Christ.

 

Four reasons why membership is encouraged at BGBC:

 

Devotion.

 

Membership is a way to express commitment and devotion to a particular family of believers.  In Acts 2:42 we read that in the early church they devoted themselves to the fellowship.  We understand membership as a way for you to affirm before the Bethel Grace family, “I am here with you and for you.  I am committed to you.  I identify myself with you.  I will serve with you in the mission Jesus has for this church.”

 

Congregational Affirmation.

 

Bethel Grace is an elder-led, congregationally-governed church.  While the regular operation of church ministry is under the oversight of the elders, certain weighty matters of ministry (such as the selection of pastors/elders, the approval of the church budget) are brought to the congregation for a vote as we seek to affirm God’s direction together.  Bethel Grace must be assured that all who participate in church votes are committed to the church and heartily affirm our basic beliefs and values expressed in our Statement of Faith and Church Covenant.  In the process of membership, these affirmations are made.

 

Key Areas of Service.

 

Along the same lines as the congregational vote, we desire that all who serve in key areas of influence (teaching roles, boards, commissions, etc.) be those who have expressed their commitment to this family of believers and have expressed agreement with our basic convictions about Christian doctrine and living.  There are many areas of service where we are happy to have non-members participate.  But for areas of leadership, we must know that those who serve are totally on board with the church.

 

Leadership.

 

The consistent pattern throughout the New Testament is that a plurality of elders is to serve and care for each local church as shepherds and overseers.  Hebrews 13:17 states that leaders will someday give an account before the Lord for those they watch over.  There are many people beyond the membership of the Bethel Grace our leaders are called to serve and care for.  But membership does help leaders clarify who it is they are accountable for.

Membership classes start this Sunday at Bethel Grace.  We’d love to have you join us!

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One Response to “Church Membership”

  1. bobby grow said

    Great post Jeff, membership certainly is an important issue; I know you appreciate Calvary Chapels, what do you think of their view on membership?

    Hope the fam is doing well!

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